Gold Cup Repeaters
By Fred Farley - APBA Unlimited Historian
Historically, the APBA Gold Cup has smiled upon repeat winners. In the half-century since World War II, the defending champion boat has won 15 times, the defending champion owner has won 22 times, and the defending champion driver has won 20 times.
The two most celebrated repeaters in pre-war Gold Cup history are Gar Wood and George Reis. Wood won five races in a row between 1917 and 1921 at the wheel of his various Miss Detroit and Miss America boats. Owner/driver Reis and El Lagarto won three straight Gold Cups in 1933-34-35. The two most often repeat winners in the post-war era are owner Bernie Little and driver Chip Hanauer.
Little recorded his first back-to-back Gold Cup triumph in 1969-70 with Miss Budweiser and drivers Bill Sterett and Dean Chenoweth. Little's other consecutive victories occurred in 1980-81 with Chenoweth, 1989-90 with Tom D'Eath, and 1992-93 with Hanauer. "Champion Chip" is obviously the all-time Gold Cup record holder in terms of repeat victories. Hanauer has an unprecedented string of seven wins between 1982 and 1988 for the Fran Muncey team in addition to a pair of back-to-back wins in 1992-93 for Bernie Little.
The late driving star Bill Muncey captured consecutive Gold Cups in 1956-57 with Miss Thriftway, in 1961-62 with Miss Century 21, and in 1977-78-79 with Atlas Van Lines. The immortal Ron Musson matched the pre-war accomplishment of George Reis with three Gold Cups in as many years in 1963-64-65 with Ole Bardahl's Miss Bardahl. (The Bardahl team won two more back-to-back titles in 1967-68 with Billy Schumacher as driver.)
Stan Sayres, owner of Slo-mo-shun IV and Slo-mo-shun V, won for the first time in 1950 and successfully defended his title four times with drivers Ted Jones, Lou Fageol, Stan Dollar, and Joe Taggart.
The only driver in the modern era to score back-to-back Gold Cup victories with two different teams is Danny Foster, who won in 1947 with the Dossin brothers' Miss Peps V and in 1948 with Albin Fallon's Miss Great Lakes.
Over the years, quite a few boats have won three APBA Gold Cups. Several of these have even won three Gold Cups in succession. But in the entire history of the event, which dates back to 1904, only one boat has ever won four Gold Cups. This incredible craft won in 1984 as Atlas Van Lines and in 1985-86-87 as Miller American. The Atlas/Miller was also the first Gold Cup winner to utilize turbine power. (She is still in competition today as the Miss Exide, owned by Mike Jones.)© Fred Farley. For reprint rights to this article, please contact the author at <firstname.lastname@example.org>
(Reprinted from the URC Thunder Letter V.2 n.83 May 8/96)
[Maureen Grandon has noted that George Henley's name was omitted from the above account. He won the Gold Cup in 1974 in Seattle and in 1975 in the Tri-Cities. LF]
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